As of this year, I’ve heard a number of students, often African-Americans though not exclusively, use the pronoun mines, which, while I don’t use it myself, absolutely delights me.
There is their and theirs, your and yours, her and hers, our and ours, y’all and y’alls (southern, but okay).
But what about mine and mines?
Like I said, this usage isn’t mine(s), but the more I considered it, the more I enjoy it, and the more I enjoy how it annoys certain pedants who hold the idea that mines is somehow incorrect.
First, understand that language is always changing. Every time we say something, anything, it changes. It may not completely change its “name,” that is how its spelled, but its pronunciation is certainly not concrete.
I’ve been using the Oxford English Dictionary’s free trial (enter trynewoed/trynewoed as login name and password; good ’til February 6), and this trial has allowed me to geek out in every which way, which gives me Exhibit A:
(click to enlarge)
Now, just because mines is documented in the Oxford English Dictionary is not the ace in the hole. Words are words and the OED is simply documenting, taking snapshots if you will, of the English language, i.e., its words, since its inception over a millennium ago. But some folks would like to see some credentials.
The first time I heard mines outside of the occasional student was in this video, or Exhibit B (approximately 1:10 in the video).
And if you read the OED entry above, you will see that the expression is chiefly Scottish, as is the speaker in the video, but please note the usage is also Irish English, and it’s also Caribbean, which has me wonder where my students would have picked mines up. Now, it’s been documented that poor Blacks and poor Irish have swapped idioms and expressions, and it’s conceivable that the Caribbean strand could have caught with African-Americans some time in the past. Hell, perhaps the -s found its way onto its host the way your become yours and our became ours.
But, in the end, mines is being used in good grammatical fashion, like “Hey, that book is mines!” and that’s all that really matters.